HC441H - The Cryosphere: Ice's Role in the Climate System

Professor: Dave Sutherland

4.00 credits

CRN 12300: Tuesday & Thursday, 8:30-9:50am @ CHA 202

The general public is faced daily with images from the cryosphere, whether it is a polar bear floating on a sea ice floe to a tidewater glacier calving off enormous chunks of ice. Yet, the science behind the headlines and gripping images is less well-explored, and certainly, less well-understood by most people. In this class we will explore the components of the cryosphere, from sea ice to glaciers to ice sheets, and delve into why ice is so critical to Earth’s climate. Along the way we will gain a better understanding of how science works, how scientists make observations of these sometimes hard to reach regions, and what the data say about the role and fate of the cryosphere in the coming decades to centuries. This is a natural science course, but without prerequisites and with a focus on writing and explaining “ice-y” science. From the lens of an environmental scientist, we will discuss how humans interact with the cryosphere.